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I purchased a Chlorophytum Comosum in October 2016. It's 3 or 4 separate plants. I moved it from its 10cm diameter plastic pot into one that's roughly 15 cm and about 20 cm deep, without drainage. When moving it, I just took all of the soil and the plant from the original pot and placed it into a hole that I dug in the new one.

I usually water this plant once every 10 days. The dirt is usually dry on the surface but still damp underneath. At the bottom of the pot I used 3 small plastic pots to act as a platform for the plant and let water fall through to the bottom, so that it wouldn't gather around the roots.

The healthiest of the plants has started putting out spiderettes that are growing fairly large, and it has increased in size since I purchased it.

All of the plants are growing fast, and recently some of the leaves have grown thin and droopy, and I just noticed that they're very discolored, and pale. A few of the leaves have become unable to support themselves and are bending.

The same issue is affecting a small spiderette that I just repotted from a completely different plant, and I have been watering a few times a week to keep the soil damp.

What's wrong with this plant? How can I help the plant recover its original robustness and grow thicker, non-pale leaves?

This is how the plant looks today. It was watered about 5 days ago. It looks very droopy and out of shape:

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Detail on the discoloration I mentioned:

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This is what the plant looked like about a month ago. The plant had grown noticeably during this time.

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Here's another picture showing what the plant looks like when it's in best shape:

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Here is a picture of the other spiderette taken from a separate plant, right after it was potted:

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This is how it looked today (visibly more pale than before):

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  • The last one (silvery pale green) looks just like scarce watering for some time (with spider plants that means none at all); generous pouring will restore the original color. On the other pictures, the color variance looks normal for fresh sprouts or like after moving the plant to a lighter spot. So nothing at all to worry about. Let's wait for further assessment. – dakab Feb 12 '17 at 17:40
  • @dakab that's interesting to hear because since I potted this spiderette I've been keeping the soil moist, and in fact I was worried about overwatering. Can too little water be the only case of this color change? – Gabriele Cirulli Feb 12 '17 at 18:58
  • No, of course there are lots of environment variables to consider: soil composition, air, light, etc. With spider plants, you can’t mess at all. They endure drought as much as submersion. I just wanted to share my experience: a silvery, pale green usually was caused by dehydration. Your plants however look generally fine. – dakab Feb 12 '17 at 20:38
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Sorry, I am not seeing a plant with problems. Perhaps a little stress from transplanting and/or being moved from a source of higher light to lower light. You are using potting soil and your watering sounds and looks just fine. Beautiful spider plant! The leaves as they age will bend more than new growth. The color is rich and healthy. You do not need to MIST. That does nothing to raise the humidity. The spots on the leaves are the dried remains of your tap water, the salts they add to city tap water (chlorine and fluorine primarily) or if you are using well water your water must be very mineral laden/hard. Looks like salts from city tap water though. Also to be seen on the rim of your clay pot. Eventually you'll see this white residue on the sides of your pot and on the surface of your soil. I'd buy bottled water, distilled water and not use tap water for your plants (nor to drink for yourself). Your transplant is a bit paler but you haven't said what you are using for fertilizer. I'd get OSMOCOTE 14-14-14 that you would use twice PER YEAR or even just once. I think that would perk and color your new transplants just fine. Truly, only in the stores these plants look this good as they enjoyed the warmth, light and ventilated air...and were fertilized. Now they are in less of a desired environment and possibly no fertilizer. They've been running on the fertilizer in the soil they came with. Let me know if I've assumed incorrectly. Great pics, beautiful plants. Wait a minute, did you say those beautiful pots have no drainage holes? I know the clay does...explain about the pot thing again. In no universe will plants survive without drain holes. Spider plants are tough and tougher and toughest but you have to have drain holes. Explain more clearly. Your question is one of the best I've seen to include your pictures. But...maybe I need more help!!

  • Thanks, I appreciate your thoughts. Here are more details: I've never fertilized this plant since I got it, and I've been watering it using tap water that I usually leave out in the open for at least a day to reduce chlorination (as I heard). But maybe I could invest in different water sources. As you understood, the grey pot indeed has no drainage holes. I was in fact afraid that this could be an issue for the plant. Inside the pot there's a structure of plastic pots holding up the plant and ideally letting the water flow to the bottom, but I never checked if that truly works. – Gabriele Cirulli Feb 12 '17 at 18:42
  • To follow up on your answer, do you think that the new, less colorful leaves that are getting long and bendy will gain more color as time goes on? They have been growing fast, and the plant started appearing droopy to me mostly because of these new leaves bending. – Gabriele Cirulli Feb 12 '17 at 18:45
  • Lastly, will fertilizer give strength back to this plant? And given that its winter now here (the indoor temperatures are never lower than 16 degrees Celsius however), what will be the ideal time to fertilize? And what about the watering: should I keep giving it water every 10 days or try to reduce the dosage? – Gabriele Cirulli Feb 12 '17 at 18:47
  • Sorry about the barrage of comments. I had another look at my plant and I guess my doubts boil down to two things: 1. why are the new leaves not as wide and as full in color as the ones before (I suppose because of lack of fertilizer?), and instead very long and droopy? 2. Is the discoloration only present because of these leaves being new growth, which means they'll acquire color as time passes? – Gabriele Cirulli Feb 12 '17 at 19:13
  • Yes, fertilizer will definitely color up your plant and make the leaves more robust. It is a good thing you've waited because purchased plants have unknown amounts of fertilizer. Now is a good time to use some extended release, simple fertilizer such as Osmocote. It is my go to for house plants and using it only twice per year for house plants is enough. Follow directions and watch your plants. They will tell you when they need certain chemicals (fertilizer). Since these plants are relatively new and getting that residue this soon, I'd get bottled water. Water when the plants need water – stormy Feb 12 '17 at 20:04
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(Sorry, not enough reputation here to comment)

As Colin Beckingham mentions, my experience is that these plants create many roots, eventually replacing all soil. If you wait too long with repotting them into a bigger pot (or dealing with all these roots some other way?), it may be very hard to remove the plant from its current pot (without breaking the pot - or the plant)

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Spider plants have very fleshy roots. They are greedy feeders and will transfer nutrients into their root system as though preparing for a long, long drought and so look great for the longest time. Then all of a sudden things look not quite so rosy. I have knocked them out of their pots to find that the root ball of soil had been replaced by a mass of thick roots, with almost no soil left. I guess whatever soil there was, in watering, was gradually flushed out. The plant was fine since it had so much nutrient in the root, but finally reaches the limit. It was starting to live on fresh air.

Moral 1: check the root. You can transplant into a bigger pot, that's one solution, not my favourite. Moral 2: replacements. With spider plants keep new little ones coming along and watch them puff up with energy. Compost the mother plant, with respect and thanks.

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